YVES TANGUY (1900-1955)
YVES TANGUY (1900-1955)
YVES TANGUY (1900-1955)
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YVES TANGUY (1900-1955)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
YVES TANGUY (1900-1955)

Un grand tableau qui représente un paysage

YVES TANGUY (1900-1955)
Un grand tableau qui représente un paysage
signed and dated ‘YVES TANGUY 27’ (lower right)
oil and grattage on canvas
45 3/4 x 35 1/8 in. (116.1 x 89.3 cm.)
Painted in 1927
Galerie Surréaliste, Paris (acquired from the artist, 1927).
Ambassador and Mrs. Henri Hoppenot, Saïgon (by 1927, until 1957).
Mr. and Mrs. William P. Mazer, New York (by 1963).
Private collection, Tokyo (by 1982); sale, Christie’s, New York, 7 November 1995, lot 41.
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 8 December 1999, lot 61 (world auction record for the artist at the time of sale).
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
Transition, September 1927, no. 6, p. 113 (illustrated).
A. Breton, Le surréalisme et la peinture, Paris, 1928 (illustrated, pl. 69).
M. Jean, “Tanguy in the Good Old Days” in Art News, September 1955, vol. 54, no. 5, pp. 30-31 (illustrated in color, p. 31).
P. Matisse, Yves Tanguy: Un recueil de ses oeuvres, Paris, 1963, p. 58, no. 63 (illustrated, p. 59).
W. Rubin, Dada and Surrealist Art, New York, 1969, p. 197 (illustrated in color, pl. XXVII).
P. Waldberg, Yves Tanguy, Brussels, 1977, p. 75 (illustrated).
S. Korb, M. Wilcox and A. Wilkie, eds., Christie's Review 1999-2000, London, 2000, p. 271 (illustrated in color).
K. von Maur, “Yves Tanguy or ‘The Certainty of the Never-Seen’” in Yves Tanguy and Surrealism, exh. cat., Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, 2000, p. 123 (illustrated in color, fig. 95).
Paris, Galerie Surréaliste, Yves Tanguy et objets d'Amérique, May-June 1927, no. 17.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Yves Tanguy, June-October 1955 (illustrated in color, p. 31).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles Museum of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago, Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage, March-December 1968, p. 242, no. 310 (illustrated, p. 102, fig. 138).
New York, Acquavella Galleries, Inc., Yves Tanguy, November-December 1974, no. 5 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou and Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Yves Tanguy rétrospective, June 1982-January 1983, p. 86, no. 30 and 21, respectively (illustrated in color, p. 30).
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Yves Tanguy: A Retrospective, January-February 1983, p. 17, no. 30 (illustrated in color on the cover).
Oregon, Portland Art Museum; Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; New Orleans Museum of Art and Seattle Art Museum, Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, October 2015-May 2017, pp. 30 and 116 (illustrated in color, p. 117).
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Brought to you by

Max Carter
Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas

Lot Essay

Infused with a deep sense of mystery, Un grand tableau qui représente un paysage is a powerful early example of Yves Tanguy’s great series of enigmatic, Surrealist landscapes. Painted in 1927, it emerged during one of the most intensive and productive periods of the artist’s career, as he delved into the recesses of his imagination and experimented with a near-automatic technique, arriving at the mature style that he would become renowned for. After first delineating a background landscape whose hazy colors and forms would articulate the mood of the picture, the painting would then be left to dry for a day or so, during which time the artist ruminated upon the shapes before him, contemplating the potential direction of the composition. Tanguy would then instinctively begin to populate the canvas with a series of intuitively arrived-at forms, modelled and shaped by spur of the moment decisions. “The element of surprise in the creation of a work of art is, to me, the most important factor,” he later explained. “The painting develops before my eyes, unfolding its surprises as it progresses. It is this which gives me the sense of complete liberty, and for this reason I am incapable of forming a plan or making a sketch beforehand” (“The Creative Process,” in Art Digest, vol. 28, no. 8, 1954, p. 14). 
Having grown up in Locronan, in the Finistère province in far west Brittany, Tanguy’s dreams of the marvelous had always revolved around and been inspired by the sea, which remained in his imagination an undeniable and ever-present manifestation of the great unknown. During the 1920s, the artist returned to this familiar landscape, spending a number of weeks each summer exploring the coastline extensively, making excursions to nearby peninsulas with rugged cliffs, and visiting the myriad Neolithic monuments that were scattered throughout the surrounding environment. These visits exerted a growing influence on his paintings from 1926 onwards, resulting in hallucinatory visions that he conjured from the depths of his subconscious, but which retained a clear affinity with the sea. In Un grand tableau qui représente un paysage the color palette is particularly suggestive of a wild, rugged coastal scene, its richly variegated blue-grey tones invoking the depths of the ocean. The deep foreground plane appears as a sandy expanse, undulating towards the shoreline, while a large stone monolith occupies the left hand side of the scene, its sheer face suggesting a cliff, a sea-stack, or an ancient menhir. A host of strange, phantasmagorical figures and forms are dotted throughout the scene, lit by an unseen source that causes strong, silhouetted shadows to fall over the ground, while wispy tendrils appear to float upwards, like clusters of seaweed caught in the breeze.
Un grand tableau qui représente un paysage was included in Tanguy’s inaugural solo-exhibition, Yves Tanguy et Objets d’Amérique at the Galerie Surréaliste in Paris from May to June, 1927. In his preface to the exhibition, André Breton praised the new direction within the artist’s oeuvre explaining that it “allows him to venture as far as he wants and to give us images of the unknown…” (Yves Tanguy et Objets d’Amérique, exh. cat., Galerie surréaliste, Paris, 1927). The painting was purchased shortly after the exhibition by Henri Hoppenot and his wife, Helena, and remained in their collection for the following three decades. While visiting a group exhibition in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s Tanguy encountered Hoppenot, who was by then a high-ranking diplomat, serving as French Ambassador to the UN Security Council. Hoppenot invited Tanguy to the ambassador’s residence to see Un grand tableau qui représente un paysage in person, an offer Tanguy happily accepted, proclaiming that he found it “a fantastic experience to see one of my children again after twenty-five years” (quoted in K. Von Maur, ed., Yves Tanguy and Surrealism, exh. cat., The Menil Collection, Houston, 2001, p. 125).

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